Kayla meets Lainie at the start of Camp Cavanick’s 8 week session. She had been reluctant to go, preferring to stay at home and sleep and read, but the two 16 years old bond instantly. Kayla has never been friends with anyone like Lainie before: a charming, funny rulebreaker and Kayla feels she transforms once she’s Lainie’s best friend.
They are an inseparable club of two and the author expertly creates that feeling you get when you meet a soulmate – someone you know you’ll be friends with forever. But then, inevitably, a boy happens. “Nerd hot” Jackson Winters and Lainie are instantly attracted to each other and for the remainder of camp have a passionate on-again off-again relationship. Jackson already has a girlfriend at home but strings Lainie along, dumping her when he feels guilty and then reeling her back in. I think most of us have been that third wheel at some time and can empathize with Kayla: why did a boy have to come along and get between them? And why can’t Lainie see he’s no good for her?
We know right from the start that the camp ends in murder. Kayla tantalizingly takes us through that summer, writing letters to Lainie that she knows she’ll never send. These are interspersed with news reports and a Greek chorus of campers and counselors.
Without any spoilers, I think the author does a terrific job of slowly peeling back what happened at Camp Cavanick and exposes the psyches of the three central characters. While not the most original thriller I’ve read, I was hooked right from start to finish. Recommended for fans of Lauren Oliver’s realistic novels.
Thanks to Quill Tree Books and Edelweiss for the digital review copy.